deutsche Version Coplas sefardies Music of Alberto Hemsi with
Tehila Nini Goldstein & Jascha Nemtsov
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Alberto Hemsi

Alberto Hemsi: Coplas sefardies, Vol. 3 op. 13,
Tehila Nini Goldstein (Gesang) & Jascha Nemtsov (Klavier)
Printed edition of Hemsi's Printed edition of Hemsi's "La Musique de la Torah"

Alberto Hemsi (1898-1975) was born in a Jewish family in Cassaba (today: Turgutlu) near Smyrna (Izmir) in the former Ottoman Empire. After his studies at the Société Musicale Israélite in Izmir and at the Conservatory in Milan, he lived in Egypt. Hemsi studied traditional music from various peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean, and in his works he used elements of Arabic, Turkish, Armenian and Jewish music. Alberto Hemsi was apparently the first musician to deal with the music of Sephardic Jews ethnologically and artistically. His life's work is the collection of Coplas sefardies (1932-1973, in 10 volumes) with 60 compositions for voice and piano based on Sephardic traditional songs. Hemsi had collected them on his ethnographic expeditions in Turkey (in Anatolia, Smyrna and Istanbul), on the island of Rhodes and in Thessaloniki. In this collection he processed the traditional material in an advanced and musically highly original way. In addition he left many vocal and chamber music compositions as well as numerous works in the field of synagogue music (adaptations and original compositions).

For nearly 30 years he was also music director of the largest synagogue in the Middle East – the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria – and published among others a theoretical treatise on “La Musique de la Torah” (Alexandria 1929) that was printed in his own publishing house, EDITION ORIENTALE de MUSIQUE.

In 1957 Hemsi had to leave Egypt, then he lived in a suburb of Paris. Hemsi was appointed professor to the Séminaire Israélite de France and taught Jewish cantorial students there. He died 1975, soon after the completion of his cycle Coplas sefardies.

The Israeli singer Tehila Nini Goldstein and Jascha Nemtsov are preparing the world premiere recordings of the complete cycle Coplas sefardies on CDs in cooperation with the radio company rbb Kultur, the label Hänssler Classic and the ACHAVA Festival Thuringia. The first recording session is scheduled for October 2017.

Alberto Hemsi (sitting ahead) with the choir of the synagogue
Alberto Hemsi (sitting ahead) with the choir of the synagogue "Eliyahu Hanavi"

© 25.09.2017 by Jascha Nemtsov. e-mail: